Day 2388

Diary Of A Busker Day 2388 Monday June 17th 2024 Winchester.
A landmark day – the first time out with the old Sigma 12-string acoustic. And it really is an old friend as I’ve had it since the summer of 1987. I thought it would be a good idea to ease myself into the singer/songwriter busker mode so I thought it best to try out the instrument I’ll be using…if I ever get the nerve to actually do it!
Don Lavelle was at the Buttercross and I thought it best to warn him about the instrument change – ‘Oh, I like twelve string guitars’ he said. He went over the road to set up his easel and I set up in front of the monument and started with La Vie En Rose. Don looked across but there was no sign of encouragement…after the next song he came over – ‘It’s not your usual signature sound, is it? It doesn’t seem to cut through, you know?’
‘Right, well, it’s a totally different instrument and I might have to twiddle a few knobs.’ What I did was switch the amp sound to Brit Combo, which is what I have for the electric. It was on the Fender amp setting because that’s what seemed to work best at home when I was trying out the Cube Street amp which was delivered this morning. Anyway, it obviously passed the Lavelle test – Don gave me the thumbs up as I started Layla. Fuck me, there’s no pleasing some people!
I’d gone over most of the repertoire at home so I had a rough idea what would work and most things seemed to go alright. I thought a lot of it sounded really good, especially the Chet arrangements – a bit like a slightly out of tune ragtime piano with the unison strings a bit out of tune with each other. Some weren’t so good, like Cavatina and it was hard on the old left hand with anything that had a lot of barre chording. I’ll have to sort out some of the high bits, like the intro to Wouldn’t It Be Nice and the 2nd bridge to While My Guitar Gently Weeps – I’ll have to do a left-hand-over-the-neck-job, like some of the Gymnopedie.  
Anyway, I managed to do two hours straight through, which was pushing it a bit, with the left hand (I’ll see how it feels in the morning!) but I got through it and a few people were very complimentary as they walked by. At one point, friendly copper Big Neil walked past and said ‘Sounds really good!’ Well, if it’s good enough for Big Neil, it’s bloody good enough for anyone else.
I also managed to preserve the momentous occasion on film. Four Austrian women came by while I was doing, of all things, The Third Man – they really liked it so I asked one, Maggi, to film me doing a shortened version afterwards. 


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